The Order of St. Origen

By Moe Lane


Don't bother with looking for him on the official registry of Catholic saints: the Church anathematized his teachings more than a millennium ago. They excommunicated him, too - several times, actually - but it had no effect on the blessed soul, Matthew 16:19 notwithstanding. Origen's 'heresy', essentially, was his rejection of the concept of eternal damnation. While he did not deny the existence of Hell, the theologian believed that eventually all sins would be expiated, all lessons learned and that all sinners would earnestly seek to be reunited with God - Who, being an infinitely compassionate being, would welcome them back. This would not just apply to mortals, either. Even the fallen angels would one day all repent. Even the Devil himself would come back home.

One can see just how badly this would sit with a Church busily making the transition from persecuted underground faith to agent of temporal power - and using both carrot and stick to do so. Origen's beliefs never stood a chance of being accepted as correct doctrine: even today it's a rare theological position to take. The Bodhisattva was understandably annoyed at the resulting blackening of his name and teachings (the more so because Heaven readily admitted at least the theoretical Truth of his position). Origen therefore delayed his ascension up the Ladder until he could prove to those idi ... 'errant brethren' ... that they were dangerously wrong.

He still hasn't made the trip.


The current Order of St. Origen is one of the many groups that populate Litheroy's Abbey. The members are usually former monastic types who either showed an interest in life in Origen's theories, or else just showed up bemusedly looking for the monk that the nice angel at the Gates had recommended as good at explaining what was really going on around here. As a result, the Order generally operates on a variant of the Benedictine Rule: nobody has to, mind, but the members usually find it familiar and relaxing.

The Order generally acts as a clearinghouse, keeping dossiers on every demon and/or damned soul that they have any sort of hard evidence on. What they track are documented examples of selfless, ethical, moral or generally 'good' activities. Personality profiles are generated and updated whenever possible, with a special emphasis on demonstrated 'weaknesses' that might prove fruitful to a Redemption Squad. Many Redeemed demons have been relentlessly debriefed here, as part of their integration into Heaven: the experience is eerily evocative of an interrogation by the Game, except for the comfortable chairs and decent coffee.

By now the Order has become an almost indispensable resource for anyone trying to Redeem a demon; at the very least, their general psychological personality assessments of the various Bands are the standard texts in a very specialized field. Most agents of the Game would love to get uninterrupted access to the Order's files: the resulting treason trials would take decades and rock Hell to the roots. Certain angels wouldn't mind providing said access, for precisely the same reason. As a result, security is tighter than one would expect around an organization under Litheoy's aegis. It wouldn't stop an Archangel, but they all have universal access anyway.

Angels could get involved with the Order in several ways: the most obvious reason is, of course, to facilitate a Redemption attempt. The Order is willing to assist any legitimate inquiry: note that they will not be amused if the data that they provide is used to soul-kill a demon, and that they have powerful patrons to help give that lack of amusement teeth. On the other hand, using their data successfully, or providing them with useful intelligence, is a good way to get on the Order's good side; how useful that this would prove to be depends on the campaign, but as a general rule it never hurts to have friends. Even if said friends are apparently perennially optimistic to the point of actual insanity, and are prone to involving others in various harebrained Redemption schemes.

Another interesting possibility is to feature the Order in a former demon's back story: they'll still have his, her or its file (placed in the 'Rescued' section of their archives), and are institutionally predisposed to give one of their 'clients' the benefit of the doubt. They'll also be a bit more willing to give a client somewhat more access to their complete files. Of course, clients are the first people called when the aforementioned harebrained scheme hits a snag...

Adventure Seed: Putting Your Forces Where Your Mouth Is...

The major problem facing the Order of St. Origen is that they have to act passively, rather than actively - much to their frustration. Some (read, 'most') of the researchers are absolutely certain that, given a clean shot, he or she could pull off a particularly tricky salvage job. The fact that, in certain cases, they are undoubtedly right only makes things worse. You see, as a general rule Heaven does not particularly think that letting blessed souls voluntarily go to Hell as missionaries is such a good idea (to put it mildly). Indeed, formal membership in the Order makes it even harder than normal to become a Saint: the Host can easily imagine what kind of targets they would make, and acts accordingly.

Unfortunately, Origen himself has managed to go missing, along with a couple of assistants and a few briefcases of files; the investigation of how he and his team managed to get vessels has not yet been satisfactorily resolved, either. Based on the state of his desk and prior investigations, it's clear that the AWOL Bodhisattvas have gone after big game: a Duke, perhaps, or a senior Word-bound, or...

...well, let's not think about who they could be going after, all right?

Motivating the PCs should be easy (pick as the target someone that the party regularly interacts with), but resolution should be harder. The Brighter the campaign, the farther away from Hell Origen and Co. should be when the party catches up with them. This is where the headaches should really begin: Origen has 12 Forces, a keen sense of celestial psychology, a force of character that could stop bullets and the Divine Logic Attunement from Yves. In other words, he's blessed hard to argue with.

Now, demons should have theoretically had a simpler set of options to choose from, except that apparently some of their Princes are playing the usual devious games and actually want Origen and Co. Downstairs, for the usual mutually contradictory reasons. After all, there's nothing more embarrassing than having one of your most powerful Servitors defect to the Other Side... and the Game usually finds tales of cover-ups to be most engrossing. Add a frantic reclamation team from Heaven, and one is good to go.

Of course, perhaps the PCs won't actually know (or care) that anything's gone 'wrong' until Origen and his team shows up on the party's metaphorical doorstep, burned, battered, bloody and bruised ... but with a penitent Haagenti or Furfur in tow. They just need a little favor...

Yes, this would work for demonic PCs as well: you tell even a Renegade Prince (or Named NPC) no. Bowing to the inevitable (even if only to work the angles and set up a quick betrayal) probably won't help you with the Game much, but then, what does?


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